A road trip is on every adventure enthusiast’s wish list. And if the road trip takes you across international borders then nothing like it. With the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway shaping up, a trip from India to Bangkok by road via Myanmar through the Asian Highway is no longer a dream. So here we have collated all the information about the cross border trip from India to Thailand by road where you will get important information about the route, trip details, what to carry, what permits are needed and other tips for this epic road trip across 3 countries.
When we had crossed the Moreh border in 2018 to visit Myanmar, we have been asked by many readers whether it is possible to take our own vehicle across the borders from India to Myanmar and then to Thailand. We had done the backpacking Myanmar trip on a budget by public vehicles. But, yes a trip from India to Bangkok by road via Myanmar in your own vehicle is possible. It only requires a lot of permits and permissions to be in place. So read on to know more about the road trip.
India to Thailand by road via Myanmar Route Map
In this trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar, you will be driving through the Asian Highway. We start the road trip from New Delhi here. In all purposes, you have to reach Siliguri in West Bengal and then drive on to Guwahati in Assam. If you are coming from any part in India, find your route to Siliguri first.
From Kolkata, you can drive to Siliguri on the first day and to Guwahati on the second day.
- Day 1 : New Delhi – Lucknow (535 km, 8-9 hours)
- Day 2 : Lucknow – Darbhanga, Bihar (590 km, 11-12 hours)
- Day 3 : Darbhanga – Siliguri (325 km, 7-8 hours)
- Day 4 : Siliguri – Guwahati (460 km, 10-11 hours)
- Day 5 : Guwahati
- Day 6 : Guwahati – Kohima (360 km, 10-11 hours)
- Day 7 : Kohima – Imphal (140 km, 4-5 hours)
- Day 8 : Imphal – Moreh (India) – Tamu (Myanmar) – Kale (245 km, 6-7 hours)
- Day 9 : Kale – Monywa (240 km, 7-8 hours)
- Day 10 : Monywa – Mandalay (132 km, 3-4 hours)
- Day 11 : Mandalay
- Day 12 : Mandalay – Yangon (630 km, 9-10 hours)
- Day 13 : Yangon – Bago (75 km, 2 hours)
- Day 14: Bago – Hpa An (210 km, 6-7 hours)
- Day 15 : Hpa An – Myawaddy (Myanmar) – Mae Sot (Thailand) – Tak (225 km, 6-7 hours)
- Day 16 : Tak – Bangkok (430 km, 6-7 hours)
- Day 17 : Bangkok
Day 1 : New Delhi – Lucknow (535 km, 8-9 hours)
If you are starting from New Delhi, we would recommend you to start early in the morning and drive as much as possible. Stop at Lucknow for the night.
Day 2 : Lucknow – Darbhanga, Bihar (590 km, 11-12 hours)
Another long day of driving or riding would be this day. Cover as much distance possible in your own country so that you have more time on international land.
Day 3 : Darbhanga – Siliguri (325 km, 7-8 hours)
From Darbhanga, drive to Siliguri. This day the driving time is a lesser and you would probably wasn’t some much-needed rest.
Day 4 : Siliguri – Guwahati (460 km, 10-11 hours)
From Siliguri, you will cross the chicken’s neck and drive to Guwahati. The road to Guwahati is quite good.
Day 5: Guwahati
We would recommend you to keep a spare day in Guwahati. Both you and your vehicle will need the much-needed rest. You can also get your car or motorbike serviced and checked in Guwahati.
Day 6 : Guwahati – Kohima (360 km, 10-11 hours)
The road near Guwahati is good, but as you enter Nagaland, the roads become bad. This part of the journey will be a test of your driving skills. Take NH27 upto Nagaon (the roads are better here) and then continue to Nagaland. The route, however, goes through small hills, green forests and beautiful villages.
Remember: You will need an ILP to visit Nagaland.
Day 7 : Kohima – Imphal (140 km, 4-5 hours)
The roads are rough and driving will again be a test of your skills, especially if you are a biker. Imphal will be your last stop before you start your international trip. So check and recheck your documents again and also the condition of your vehicle. You would not want anything to go wrong the next day. If you want, stop at Imphal for a day for rest.
Day 8 : Imphal – Moreh – Tamu – Kale (245 km, 6-7 hours)
This day, you are going to enter a different country. I would suggest you start early and drive to Moreh, the border town in Manipur. You must have your carnet and accommodation details ready as it is required for entering Myanmar in your own vehicle.
Once you reach Moreh, get your documents (passport, visa) checked at Moreh ICP. Cross the India-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to enter Myanmar. Your escort should be ready opposite the Friendship Bridge.
Next, the necessary immigration process will take place at Tamu. Here your visa will get stamped. The carnet will get stamped a few kilometres ahead of Tamu. The road condition is not very good. You will cross a number of bridges in the route.
Things to remember:
You can enter Myanmar only before 10 PM. The entire formality usually takes about an hour. So, reach the border in time. Also, keep in mind that Myanmar Standard Time is one hour ahead of Indian Standard Time. I would recommend you to reach the border in the day itself.
In Myanmar, vehicles move on the right side of the road. Keep this in mind.
Day 9 : Kale – Monywa (240 km, 7-8 hours)
This is a single lane road. You will mainly drive through the beautiful Burmese countryside. You will cross paddy fields, little villages and again a number of bridges.
Day 10 : Monywa – Mandalay (132 km, 3-4 hours)
This distance is less this day and you will take about 3 hours to reach Mandalay.
Day 11 : Mandalay
A day stop in Mandalay is recommended. The city is beautiful and you can explore Mandalay this day.
Day 12 : Mandalay – Yangon (630 km, 9-10 hours)
The road from Mandalay to Yangon is a good one. Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar and was the erstwhile capital of Myanmar before it was shifted to Naw Pyi Taw. If you want you can stay another day at Yangon as well.
Day 13 : Yangon – Bago (75 km, 2 hours)
This is a small distance to be covered. You can explore Yangon in the morning and leave for Bago in the afternoon. But avoid the evening as driving or riding at night can be quite challenging.
Day 14: Bago – Hpa An (210 km, 6-7 hours)
The road is a good one and on the way to Hpa-An, you will come across a number of waterfalls.
It is recommended to stay the night at Hpa An as the next day you will be entering Thailand. Good night rest is required.
Day 15 : Hpa An – Myawaddy – Mae Sot – Tak (225 km, 6-7 hours)
Again this day you will cross another international border and finally, you will reach Thailand from India. Remember, carnet Pass is required for entering into Thailand with your own vehicle.
You will come to Myawaddy, the Burmese border town. Exchange the remaining Kyats you have to Thai Baht near the border. Also, get your exit stamp on your passport and other permits at the Myanmar Immigration office at the border. Here, your Burmese escort car will also bid you goodbye. You have to cross a bridge here also. Across the bridge is Thailand.
You will meet your Thai escort car across the bridge at Mae Sot, the Thai border town. The Thailand embassy is just opposite the bridge where you have to get your documents and permit checked.
Thailand is a left-hand drive country like India. So you have to change lanes once you enter Thailand.
Tak is about 90 km from Mae Sot, the border. Once you enter Thailand, you will see the change in the conditions of the roads. Clean and smooth roads, you will have a good time driving on the roads of Thailand.
Day 16 : Tak – Bangkok (430 km, 6-7 hours)
This would be one of the best drives in the entire trip. You are in Thailand and driving on some great roads. You will have a great time both driving your car and riding your bike. Once you reach Bangkok, enjoy the vibe of the city.
Where you would want to visit in Thailand and what places you would drive from Bangkok, I would leave that to you. You might want to go to Phuket, Phi Phi Island or other places. Plan accordingly and carry on with the trip.
It is well worth learning Thai free online before you embark upon this fantastic adventure, as it will make it easier for you to really immerse yourself in the local traditions and culture. This means a far more enriching experience, and the chance to explore Thailand to the full.
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The next thing you probably want to decide is whether you want to return via the same route or ship your bike or car and return by air from Thailand.
Shipping your vehicle
If you wish to ship your vehicle from the last destination, then also plan about this beforehand. You might not want to return back the same route.
In this case, contact shipping companies that can import your car or bike back to India. Know about the procedures, documents needed and the estimated cost associated with shipping. The cost will depend upon the type of vehicle and the distance it is being shipped to.
Some Important Tips for India to Myanmar to Thailand Road Trip by own vehicle
1. International Driving Permit (IDP)
International Driving Permit (IDP) is one of the most important documents that you need to have whether you are driving your 4-wheeler or riding 2-wheelers across Myanmar and Thailand.
Please remember International Driving Permit (IDP) and International Driving License (IDL) is not the same, though in India both the terms are used interchangeably. You can apply for IDP by visiting the RTO Office from where your driving license has been issued. Fee for getting an IDP is INR 1000.
The IDP can be used in many countries other than Myanmar and Thailand as well. With this, you can also opt for renting a vehicle in a foreign country.
Remember, IDP is not valid without your Indian Driving License. So keep both the documents in order.
India to Myanmar highway does not require an IDP as per a treaty signed between both the governments. But it is always advisable to keep it with you to avoid any legal complications.
Before you enter Myanmar, please ensure that you have the tourist Visa in place. You can apply a tourist Visa for Myanmar online very easily. You will receive the eVisa within a week. The Myanmar eVisa costs $50 for 28 days.
I would also advise you to get your Thailand Visa done as well. Though Thailand has the option for Visa on Arrival for Indian tourists, it is better to get the visa done before, as there will be other permits to worry about when you are driving your own vehicle.
You need to have all the necessary permissions for driving through Myanmar and then to Thailand
There are a host of permits required for driving from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar. For travelling through Myanmar, you need to pay the Carnet fees and Thailand requires Carnet de Passage for Indian drivers. Also, for both Thailand and Myanmar, you need to have a guide and an escort vehicle ahead of your car or bike, even it is a single one.
3. Carnet Fees for Myanmar and Thailand
To exit and reenter India from Myanmar in your own vehicle, you need to pay a carnet fee for the vehicle. Carnet pass is mandatory for any vehicle while taking a road trip into international routes. The cost of the pass can be 200% of your motorcycle or car which is taken for the security of the vehicle.
ATA Carnet is an International Uniform Customs document issued in 78 countries including India, which are parties to the Customs Convention on ATA Carnet. “ATA” is the acronym of the French and English word “Admission Temporaire / Temporary Admission”. The ATA Carnet permits duty-free temporary admission of goods into a member country without the need to raise customs bond, payment of duty and fulfilment of other customs formalities in one or a number of foreign countries. FICCI is India’s sole national issuing and guaranteeing association for ATA Carnet.
A Carnet is valid for one year from the date of issue.
The price for Carnet fees was upto 200% the value of your car or bike. But recently, the carnet fees has been fixed to Rs.50000 for two-wheelers and Rupees One Lakh for cars. Carnet is like the visa for your vehicle where you are guaranteeing that you will bring the car back to the country.
You can pay the carnet fees by a bank guarantee, bank draft, cheque and even credit cards. The carnet fee is refundable.
There is a processing fee for getting the Carnet pass for your vehicle that you have to pay.
However, once the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Treaty comes to effect completely, the process will be much simpler. We had heard about this treaty being signed for long. In May 2018, the India Myanmar Land Treaty was signed between India and Myanmar that facilitated an easier crossing of the border by tourists and this agreement became operational in 2018. Hopefully, the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicles Agreement also comes into effect soon, so that adventurers can travel from India to Thailand by road across the three countries without much hassle.
Check the official site of ATA India for more information.
4. Escort Vehicle and Hotel Booking
You need to have an escort vehicle and hotel booking from advance if you want to take this epic trip from India to Thailand by road.
An escort vehicle along with a local Burmese speaking guide is necessary for your travel in Myanmar. You need to have all your hotels pre-booked as well. The entire travel route from Myanmar to Thailand needs to be predefined along with the night stops and hotel bookings. You have to get the escort vehicle from any approved travel agency in Myanmar.
Accommodations should be in hotels, guest houses, Airbnb or homestays. You are not permitted to camp anywhere in between.
For driving or riding in Thailand, at least one tour guide/escort with one Thai-registered escorting vehicle should be present.
Foreign registered vehicles will need permission to enter Thailand for tourism purposes (like that in Myanmar), with applications made at least 15 working days in advance. An entry fee and some other requirements must also be met and the permission must be sought through travel agencies based in Thailand (approved by the Department of Tourism, Thailand) who will seek the necessary permits through the Land Transport Office in the province where you plan to enter Thailand.
All these factors need to be pre-planned and you cannot do on the spot booking of escort vehicle, guides and accommodation.
Things to carry in your trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar
A road trip across different countries needs a lot of preparations and planning. You need to fit physically as well as mentally agile. There are many things that you might not need while driving or riding in India, but those things have to be taken care of on an international road trip. So here is a list of things that you must have ready on your trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar.
PLANNING A TRIP TO MYANMAR? READ OUR COMPLETE MYANMAR TRAVEL GUIDE FOR 2020 TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
Passport: Keep your passport ready for the international trip. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival at the first location.
Visa: Get your visa done before. Nowadays, all the countries have the provision of getting online visa. Get it well in advance.
Keep a few colour photographs with you in white background.
Keep your travel insurance in place. Travel insurance is a must during an international trip. It will help you cope with any unforeseen circumstances that might come on the road. Do not be lax in this area.
Hotel bookings: Keep the documents of your hotel bookings in both Myanmar and Thailand with you.
Driving License: Keep your Indian Driving License in place. Even if you are having an International Driving Permit (IDP), it does not work without your license.
International Driving Permit: The IDP is an important document for your driving or riding across the border.
Vehicle Insurance: Your car or bike must be fully insured and keep the papers handy. The papers might be checked at few places on the way from India to Myanmar and further to Thailand.
Vehicle registration papers: If the vehicle is owned by you, please keep the original vehicle papers with you and also some photocopies of it. Keep every legal papers related to the registration of your vehicle. This goes for both cars and motorcycles.
Carnet documents: Keep the carnet permit with you.
Other Important Things to carry for India to Thailand by road trip via Myanmar
Camera: You are embarking on a trip of a lifetime. You will be crossing borders, explore different countries, visit various cities and meet new people on the way. To capture these beautiful memories, have your camera, action camera, camera batteries, chargers, lens kit and other gadgets ready.
Smartphone with GPS: although you will have an escort vehicle and local guide with you, it is always better to keep your smartphone with you. It often serves as great help ion unknown lands.
First aid kit and medical kit: Keep a good stock of common medicines with you containing medicines of cold, fever, stomach problems, loose motions etc. Also keep antiseptics and band-aids, ORS and glucose with you. Both ORS and glucose give instant energy when you are tired after a long drive and yet have a long way to go.
Tool kit for your vehicle: Keep some spare parts and tool kit for your vehicle. Get your motorbike or car serviced at least a week before the start of your trip. Also, it is recommended to keep a day or two extra in your itinerary. This is for any unforeseen circumstances and servicing of your vehicle if needed.
For bikers, carry your rider’s helmet, an all-weather rider’s jacket that you can wear in cold, rain, sunshine and changing weather, riding goggles and riding gloves. Also, get a good riding boot for the trip.
Necessary clothes: I am always for travelling light and I would suggest you to pack light, more so if you are riding your bike from India to Thailand by road.
Snacks, food and water: Keep some snacks, energy bars and food with you on for the road. You will be on the road for a long time and it is better to take breaks in between. Stop in between for having food and water. This is very important in a long drive or ride. Keep enough water with you as well.
If you are driving or riding from India to Thailand via Myanmar, then you need to be in your best of health and need the energy on the road. So carry protein bars, dry fruits, ORS and glucose for your hunger pangs.
Other Important documents to carry without fail:
- Your original credit card along with last 6 months detail.
- Bank statement for the last 6 months.
- Enough cash with you while crossing the border. For example, in Thailand you need to show that you have at least 10000 Bahts with you.
What is the estimated cost for a trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar?
This is a tentative estimate of the cost that you might incur if you travel from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar. The costs are subject to change as per the prevalent conditions.
Here is a rough estimate of the cost for a trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar
Myanmar eVisa fee is $50. Visa on Arrival is free in India for Indians up to April 2020.
For Myanmar: Rs.50000.00 for bike and Rupees one lakh for car. This is refundable though.
For Thailand: Carnet fees will be around 200%-300% of your vehicle value. This, again is a refundable security deposit.
Fuel: Around Rs.25000 – Rs.30000 approximately
Hotel and Food: As per your spending.
Escort Vehicle in Myanmar: Rs.60,000.00 – Rs.70,000.00 approximately. This can be divided among the number of cars or bikes.
Escort vehicle in Thailand: Rs.120,000.00 – Rs.140,000.00 approximately. This can be divided equally among the number of cars or bikes.
Shipping: If you are planning to ship your vehicle from your last destination (in case you do not want to return via the same route), then it will incur an additional cost. Shipping of your car from Thailand back to Kolkata takes about Rs.150,000.00. if you are planning to return back the same way, then that will also take a few days along with the fuel cost and your accommodation and food cost.
A few more tips to remember for your trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar
- You need to get ILP for driving through Nagaland and Manipur in India.
- Choose your vehicle properly and get to know it.
- Choose the best time to go.
- Decide on the route you want to take. This is the most important to have a great trip. In Myanmar, you need to move through a designated route.
- Get your Visas and permits ready in time.
- Keep your vehicle tool kit and medicine kit handy.
- Keep enough cash in hand. The cash should not be just Indian rupees or USD. Change the currencies near the border area. You can change your INR to Myanmar Kyats in Moreh or Tamu and the Kyats into Thai Baht in Myawaddy in Myanmar-Thailand border.
- Stay updated with the current political situations in Myanmar before you travel.
- Do not overexert and over explore. You are going on an adventurous trip and quite naturally, you would want to visit a lot of places. You might want to explore some off the beaten tracks. But I would suggest you to not do so. Infact, many offbeat places in Myanmar are out of bounds for tourists. Stick to your original plan and itinerary and drive/ride safe.
- Keep food supplies like ready to eat snacks, protein bar with you. It will help on the way.
- Take sufficient halts on the way. In this way, you will get the required break and will also be able to enjoy the view on the road.
- Get acquainted with the travel and road rules of the countries you are visiting. For example, in Myanmar, you have to drive on the right, unlike India. Keep these road rules in mind. Though the escort vehicle will be there, you also need to be alert.
Finally, enjoy this road trip from India to Thailand via Myanmar. Enjoy the road, the people and the culture of the countries you travel through and make memories of a lifetime.
India to Thailand by road via Myanmar by public transport
Well, if you want to do this trip in public transport, then follow this route:
- Guwahati – Imphal (By bus. You will get buses to Imphal from ISBT Guwahati and Paltan Bazar Stand)
- Imphal – Moreh (by shared van)
- Moreh – Tamu: At Moreh, after getting your documents checked at Moreh ICP, cross the India-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to enter Myanmar.
- Get your visa and passport checked at Tamu Immigration office and then walk or hitchhike to Tamu Bus Station.
- Tamu – Mandalay: From Tamu Bus Station, you will get buses and vans to Mandalay.
- From Mandalay, you will get buses to almost all the main cities and destinations of Myanmar. Your last stop in Myanmar, in this case, should be Yangon.
- Yangon – Myawaddy/Mae Sot: From Yangon, you will get buses to Myawaddy, the border town.
- From Myawaddy, cross the bridge to enter Thailand.
- Mae Sot – Bangkok: From the border, take a bike taxi and go to Mae Sot Bus Station. You will get buses to Bangkok from there.
CLICK HERE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INDIA TO MYANMAR BY ROAD AND TO THAILAND BY PUBLIC VEHICLE
Hope we have been able to answer your queries regarding the epic trip from India to Thailand by road via Myanmar. Whenever you plan to go, do your research well and get to know about the place well. We are sure you will have a wonderful trip. And once you have done this, please do let us know how it went.